Tony Abbott is not giving up his push for Malcolm Turnbull to dump the renewable energy target, arguing the government is treating voters like mugs if it doesn’t.
In a speech to the Young Liberals conference in Adelaide, the former prime minister says the past year has shown what happens when mainstream parties lose touch with their supporters.
“The public are not mugs. We can’t credibly attack Labor merely for being worse than us. This is why our first big fight this year must be to stop any further mandatory use of renewable power,” he said, according to News Corp.
“Labor wants to more than double the renewable energy target to 50 per cent. That means a $50 billion overbuild of unnecessary wind turbines costing each household $5000 — and that’s just for starters.”
Mr Abbott conceded he was responsible for setting the current RET, but said he had brought it down from Labor’s mark.
“Why is it OK for everyone to get the benefit of Australian coal and gas except us? Why is it OK for other countries to open new power stations using Australian coal but wrong for us?
“So let’s stop forcing people to use the most expensive power and make it easier for them to use the cheapest.”
Australia’s RET is to ensure that at least 33,000 GWh of Australia’s energy comes from renewable sources by 2020. Labor’s target was 41,000 GWh by 2020.
Cabinet minister Simon Birmingham said the target was only settled and amended around 18 months ago under the Abbott government.
“We have no plans to change it,” he told ABC radio.
The focus of debate shouldn’t be the coalition’s target but instead be how Labor leader Bill Shorten plans to meet his party’s 50 per cent target, Senator Birmingham said.
Mr Abbott’s speech repeated remarks about the RET he made earlier in January.
– with AAP